Why millennials are changing the way we eat

Firstly what is a millennial? There always has and always will be cultural generations and most of us will have heard of baby boomers and generation X. Millennials is the catchier one-word title that has been adopted for people born between the early 1980s to the mid 1990s instead of using Generation Y.

But why is this group of people changing how people eat today? This year the purchasing power of millennials is set to surpass baby boomers’ which makes it crucial to understand how
their spending differs from their parents when it comes to the food service industry. One of the key differences is that millennials are most likely to eat out instead of at home. As this habit grows, more eateries are offering prepared meals to take n go with many restaurants and fast casual dining places offering delivery and making their to-go menu options more accessible.

This cultural group are used with media and digital technology with 25% of Millennials spending more than 5 hours a day on their smartphones and more than 50% spending at least 3 hours a day compared to a quarter of baby boomers. These consumers are always on call with 85% keeping their smartphones in direct reach at all times. This means that technologies like mobile ordering and delivery apps will play more of a key role in making eating more convenient for your millennial customers.

Millennials preference for eating out reflects that they are less willing to cook. A recent Bernstein report found that even though millennials work fewer hours than older generations - including those who have retired - they spend the least amount on food prep but what analysts did find surprising was that unlike other age groups, millennials continue to eat prepared foods even as they grow richer. Partially because this generation is suspected to be adversely affected by the Great Recession and the economic and social damage caused by it.

The preference for prepared foods boils down to convenience, to the point where even making cereal was seen as too cumbersome because it would leave behind a dirty bowl, according to a 2015 report from Mintel. The cereal maker Kellogg saw its sales drop 14% from 2013 through 2017 as younger consumers turned to more convenient options like yogurt and prepared breakfast sandwiches.

So what can you offer to drive sales up from the millennial generation?

  • Convenience
    To-go options, Heat and Eat or Meal Kits.

  • Delivery
    Offer delivery options and mobile apps/ordering site.

  • Price Specific Offers
    Price menu options to help drive sales. Millennials still want a good deal!

  • Food truth
    Transparency on ingredients. Shout about The Champion Burger by Causeway Prime that uses Irish beef cuts

  • Customisation
    Millennials don’t want the same burger or salad bowl that everyone else is eating. They want to custom design the flavour and personalise the meal

  • Healthy
    Salad bowls that offer customisation and list that your lettuce comes from our Irish supplier.

  • Sustainability
    Shout about your compostable paper cups and bagasse take away trays. Millennials think about their carbon footprint and your earth-friendly practices

  • New Offerings
    Millennials are open minded and curious, they like trying new flavours, love ethnic cuisine and won’t shy away from vegetarian and vegan options.

As menu options expand and as you try new things, know that’s driven by millennials.